Materials Used in Dock Building

A dock is a beautiful addition to any waterfront property. It also offers a convenient way to dock your boat and protect it from buffeting winds and waves created by passing boats.

Dock Building

Docks are built very much like decks, with a frame that is then covered by the desired decking material. Many dock builders prefer to use plastic lumber for its durability and resistance to rot and mold. Contact Dock Builder for professional help.

Pine is one of the most common materials used in dock building. This softwood is affordable and resistant to rot and parasites, which helps it last longer than other wood options. In fact, when properly cared for, pine can last a few decades.

When choosing lumber for a dock, it is important to consider the environment it will be placed in and how often it will be exposed to water. Marine-treated wood, also known as PT lumber, is treated to be durable enough for marine environments. It is the ideal material for docks, piers, sea walls and other structures that are constantly immersed in water. This treatment process typically involves the use of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) or ACQ, which contain chemicals that help the wood withstand water exposure.

In addition to enhancing the durability of your dock, this type of lumber is treated to resist fungus and insects that can damage it. Moreover, it is designed to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater.

Whether you choose to build your dock with PT lumber or another option, you should always look for markings on the wood that indicate it has been pressure treated. Typically, the wood will have a greenish tint and be labeled “PT” or “pressure-treated.” You can identify this type of lumber by its appearance as it will be much denser than other types of wood and have a distinct smell. You will also notice that the surface has small incisions or markings on it. These are marks that have been added to help the preservative penetrate the wood and provide protection.

Some species of wood, such as Douglas fir, don’t absorb chemicals as readily as southern yellow pine, so they must be incised prior to being pressure treated. This process creates small incisions on the surface of the wood that allow the chemical to penetrate into the heartwood.

While PT lumber is the preferred material for most docks, there are some concerns about its environmental impact. For instance, if the wood is buried underground, it may leach copper into the surrounding soil. If this happens in high concentrations, it can be toxic to aquatic life. This is why it is only recommended to use PT lumber for outdoor projects that are at least six inches above ground, such as 4×4 fence posts, deck railings and floor joists.


High-density polyethylene is a petroleum-based plastic that offers strength, durability and resistance to corrosion. It is available in both sheet and rod form and can be fabricated to meet specific project requirements. Its most notable characteristics include its heat resistance and density-to-strength profile. It is able to withstand very high temperatures without losing its structural integrity, which makes it an ideal material for piping systems. It is also nontoxic and odorless, making it suitable for applications requiring sanitary conditions.

HDPE is manufactured through a process called polymerization, in which molecules of ethylene gas are combined with different catalysts to create long chains that can be molded into various shapes and sizes. The result is an opaque, strong and resilient plastic that can be molded into a wide variety of products, including milk jugs, bottle caps, shampoos, detergents and facial prosthetics. This versatile plastic is highly resistant to punctures, impacts and chemicals, and can withstand exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Unlike other materials, HDPE does not absorb moisture or degrade over time. This makes it an ideal material for dock construction and maintenance, especially in environments that are prone to frequent exposure to water. HDPE is also able to withstand heavy loads and harsh weather conditions.

Another advantage of using HDPE for your dock is its ability to withstand saltwater exposure. This feature is particularly important for marine applications that are prone to corrosion and chemical attacks. HDPE can be sterilized by boiling, and it is also impervious to mildew, rusting and bacterial growth.

For this reason, Piedmont manufactures HDPE dock floats that are designed to resist corrosion and other environmental factors that might compromise the structure of a traditional dock. Our HDPE floating docks use aluminum channel cross-members that ensure a robust and stiff structure. The floats themselves are constructed from 4″ x 4″ treated stringers and double-thick 2″ x 10″ treated skirt boards, which provide additional strength and stability for your dock. This combination of quality materials and a design that is optimized for all weather conditions provides the ultimate in stability and comfort.


Aluminum is one of the most durable metals available for building a dock frame. It’s also lightweight, which helps to reduce installation costs and effort. In addition, it’s resistant to corrosion — which is important for the frame of any structure that sits in water. This is especially true for boat docks, where the frames are exposed to saltwater.

A marine grade of aluminum is most commonly used for dock building. This material is a little stronger than standard aluminum, and it’s also more resistant to corrosion. However, it’s not as strong as steel, which is often used for commercial and industrial docks.

If you’re considering an aluminum dock, make sure that it is designed for use in your specific lake. A reputable dock builder will be able to create a custom design for your home, and they’ll help you select the right materials for your needs.

Prefabricated docks are a great option for many people who want to build a dock, but they’re not comfortable with the process of installing the decking and attaching it to the pilings themselves. These docks can be installed quickly and easily, which makes them a great choice for newcomers to the world of dock building.

Another benefit of a prefabricated dock is that it’s typically made from environmentally safe materials, which minimizes its impact on the environment. This is particularly important in areas where the local ecosystem is delicate, such as the Great Lakes region. These types of materials are also easier to clean, which can minimize disruptions to the natural habitat around the dock.

Aluminum docks don’t require staining, sealing or painting, and they won’t rust as much as other metals such as steel. They’ll still get dirty, though, and they’ll need to be cleaned regularly to remove dead worms, algae and general lake gunk.

Like wooden docks, aluminum can be damaged by abrasion or from impact with large boats. It’s possible to repair the damage from these impacts, but it’s best to avoid them whenever possible. A reputable dock builder will be happy to advise you about the best ways to protect your aluminum dock from the damage caused by boats.


If you’re looking to add value and beauty to your lake property, a dock is the perfect solution. Not only can a dock serve as a place to moor your boat, but it can also provide a space for fishing, sunbathing, or hosting a swim party. Whether you’re planning to build a new dock or repair an existing one, there are a few steps that should be followed.

To start, you’ll need to determine the location of your dock. The location should be easily accessible, safe, and deep enough for boats. In addition, you may need to obtain a permit before starting construction. Once you’ve selected a site, it’s important to prepare the area by clearing debris and rocks and leveling the ground.

Once you’ve prepared the site, you can begin to build the frame of your dock. Choose a material that meets your needs and budget. Some options include pressure-treated wood, HDPE, and aluminum. Aluminum is a favorite among dock builders because it’s durable, light, and rust-resistant. HDPE is another durable option that is easy to work with and rot-resistant.

For a natural aesthetic, wood is a great choice for dock building. However, it’s essential to ensure the wood is treated with preservatives to prevent rot and other damage. Cedar is a popular wood option for docks because it resists water damage and is a beautiful color.

During the dock building process, it’s important to mark where fasteners will be placed. This will help you keep your measurements accurate and consistent. In addition, marking for fasteners will save you time and effort in the long run. It’s also a good idea to use a measuring tape to measure the length of each board. This will make it easier for you to drive the screws and nails in a consistent way.

Using a prefabricated dock is an eco-friendly choice because it eliminates waste and uses less energy than on-site construction. Additionally, these structures can be designed to minimize disruption to marine life and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.